Under Fire Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What does the Foreign Legionnaire try to give to his comrade?

2. What does Volpatte repeat as he charges into the machine gun fire?

3. Why does Cpl. Bertrand wake the narrator at 2 a.m.?

4. What do the men take from the German sentry they kill?

5. What are the "Zouaves' Cells"?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

This novel is alleged to be semi auto-biographical, and there are strong hints that the narrator of the story is the author. Still, little is revealed about the narrator, although it is clear that he is not like the other men of the squad.

Part 1) Describe as many details about the narrator as possible. What are his personality traits? What is his background and history?

Part 2) Explain what sets the narrator apart from the other men of the squad. How is he different in speech, action, and thought? What does this say about his character?

Part 3) What evidence exists to suggest that the author and narrator are the same person? Is there any evidence to the contrary? What is the author's intent in this regard?

Part 4) Describe the literary intent of suggesting, but never confirming, that the narrator is the author.

Essay Topic 2

Despair is a constant threat in the novel. Many characters find unique ways to fight against despair and some are consumed by it. It is the source of strange behavior and adaptive strategies, and the cause of some seemingly suicidal actions.

Part 1) Explain the theme of despair as it occurs in the novel. How does this threat compare to other threats of trench life and warfare?

Part 2) Discuss some of the strategies some of the men develop to stave off despair. How well do these strategies fare. Explain examples of the men falling into complete despair.

Part 3) Using examples from the last chapters of the book, give a last analysis of the theme of despair. How much does it affect the men overall? How successful can they be, in the end, in fighting it off?

Essay Topic 3

Throughout the novel, many opinions of the poilus are articulated indirectly. The perspective always stays with the men of Bertrand's squad and almost always with the narrator, but through the experiences of these men, the perceptions of many other people towards the poilus becomes clear.

Part 1) Explain how the poilus, and particularly groups like Bertrand's squad, who have spent a great deal of time in the trenches, are perceived by the more active forces, such as other formations that are on the march, or the Moroccan Division.

Part 2) Describe the shirker's attitudes towards the poilus. How are these attitudes shaped by the shirker's own failures and vices?

Part 3) Explain how the civilians and journalists see the poilus. How are these perceptions shaped by this group's desire to support the war?

(see the answer keys)

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